Elk Falls Workers

Campbell River B.C.

Follow up on Ottawa meeting with Finance Minister Flaherty

Members have been asking about the results of the June 2nd protest in Ottawa and whether the CEP got what it wanted out of it.  Here is the press release from the CEP National website.

Ian

CEP Meeting with Jim Flaherty, Federal Finance Minister
OTTAWA (June 3, 2009)

Call them the Forestry Five-union leaders who came from across the country to confront the Minister of Finance. The Forestry Five had his full attention for two dramatic reasons-the first was an old fashioned and very effective occupation of 7 Conservative MPs and Ministers constituency offices. The second had just unfolded across Ottawa-the biggest union demonstration Parliament Hill has witnessed in years, 4,000 strong according to police sources.

The national press was out in force.

The leaders flying the green CEP flag were Dave Coles, President of CEP, and Gaétan Ménard, Secretary Treasurer of CEP, along with VPs Bob Huget, Ervan Cronk, and Jim Britton. The Forestry Five met with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of National Revenue, and six Parliamentary staffers.

The tone of the meeting was more conciliatory than in the past. According to Gaétan Ménard, there was a new opening for the union position. Ménard said “They didn’t use their usual excuse, and hide behind the Softwood Lumber Agreement as the reason they couldn’t back stop loans to the industry.”  Dave Coles described it as a crack in the door, a door that has been closed in the past.

Coles and Ménard gave Flaherty and Blackburn a precedent setting proposal on forestry workers threatened pensions. And they told the Conservative Ministers, and their staff, that there are entire communities across Canada that are at risk of complete devastation if the federal government doesn’t take action to level the playing field with the US very soon. Canadian mills can’t compete with the kinds of breaks US mils are getting from their government.

Flaherty promised the Forestry Five that he would study the union’s position, and get back to them.

The federal Liberals have also agreed to a meeting with the union.

The CEP’s Gaétan Ménard meets with Denis Coderre, Michael Ignatieff’s Quebec lieutenant, next Tuesday, June 16.

June 12, 2009 Posted by | - Government | Leave a comment